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Books For Small-O Orthodox Christians

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I am very, very grateful to Father Dwight Longenecker for his generous review of The Benedict Option — and for pairing it with Anthony Esolen’s great book Out Of The Ashes.

What is the answer? If both men call first for an awareness of the problem, they also call for a conscious, intentional, and disciplined response. Mr. Esolen’s solutions are broader in their intent—with particular examples, whereas Mr. Dreher’s solutions are more specific. In The Benedict Option he lays out particular actions that individuals, families and communities can take. Both men acknowledge that the vocation to re-build a Christian culture will require hard work, sacrifice and serious commitment.

Mr. Dreher is to be commended too, for acknowledging the shared worldview of all Christians who are committed to historic Christianity. Increasingly the division in Christendom is not between Protestant, Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. The division is between those who believe Christianity is revealed by God and is eternally true, and those who believe the Christian religion is a human construct and a historical accident which not only can be adapted for every age, but must be.

When he emerged from his prison cell in communist Romania, Baptist pastor Richard Wurmbrand said in the torture chambers there were no Baptists, Catholics or Orthodox. There were only brothers in Christ. This is the ecumenism of our age: Evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox who hold to the timeless truths of Scripture and the Christian tradition will know at heart that they are brothers and sisters. Together they will rediscover the foundations of the faith, and almost despite themselves, may lay the foundation for a new Christendom.

Read the entire review here.

If you’re interested in the Ben Op, please do order Esolen’s new book, as well as Archbishop Charles Chaput’s latest, Stranger In A Strange Land. We are all three talking about how to be authentically Christian, and to build an authentically Christian culture, in post-Christian America. These men are Roman Catholic, and I am Eastern Orthodox, but all three books will be helpful to all small-o orthodox Christians, as defined by Father Dwight’s quoted remark above.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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